YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – There are many ways volunteers can help make Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley a better place to live.
Non-profits need help every day with everything from tutoring students to cleaning up vacant properties, but it can be overwhelming to pick one place to donate time. Now, a new app, specialized for the Mahoning Valley, can make the process a lot easier.
The app is called Love This Place. It matches the user’s interests with volunteer opportunities.
Tiffany Sokol, housing director of the Youngstown Neighborhood Corporation (YDNC), is excited about the app. She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty and hopes the new app will help find volunteers who will do the same.
“It matches people with their interests. You are going to get connected with volunteer opportunities that you may not have known existed, that really fit what you’re passionate about,” Sokol said.“There is so much work to do in this community. We really can’t get it all done without having volunteers involved in what we are doing.”
Joe Varacalli, director of Love This Place, said the application works much like a dating app. You input your interests and then the app will alert you when a volunteer opportunity comes up. It helps potential volunteers take that first step.
“Most people we’ve talked to have considered volunteering. They like volunteering, but they just don’t know how to start.” Varacalli said.”We want to make that as easy as possible to get plugged in.”
The app officially launches Thursday, but the website is up and running so organizations and volunteers can sign up now – it takes about three minutes.
“I think there is a great sense of satisfaction in being able to physically see a change in our community from the work of your own hands,” Sokol said. “This app is providing the opportunity for more people to get involved and do that.”
Love This Place is hosting an open house from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, March 30 at the Tyler History Center. Admission is free. Youngstown Mayor John McNally will speak at the event along with Jim Cossler from the Youngstown Business Incubator.